We don’t often think of going sightseeing in Bergen, especially for a weekend or a city trip. However, anyone who goes on a trip to Norway necessarily passes through the country’s second city – known to be both the prettiest, the most typical, surrounded by mountains and fjords. We appreciate its human size (280,000 inhabitants, 10% of whom are students), its port (Vågen, cradle of the city), its history (the city was founded in 1070), the richness of its cultural program, and the many lakes, fjords, and treks accessible in a few minutes from the city center. Not to mention that Bergen is also the starting point for some of Norway’s most beautiful treks, including the famous Trolltunga hike, in one of the country’s most spectacular views.
Now accessible by direct flight from Paris with Air France (2h10 journey) for only 115 € A / R (price found via Omio, formerly GoEuro, for a trip from April 3 to 11, 2020), Bergen will, in my opinion, be one of the top destinations for the next few years. Nestled between the sea and seven mountains, dotted with cobblestones and pretty colorful wooden houses, the former capital of the Kingdom of Norway is experiencing growing vitality, attracting internationally renowned musicians, artists, cooks seduced by the quality of the fishery resources that it offers. We find there. Besides, Bergen has just obtained its first Michelin star in the 2020 edition of the famous gastronomic guide, thanks to Bare Restaurant !
4 good reasons to visit Bergen
1. Bryggen, UNESCO World Heritage
Bryggen district (“The wharf” in Norwegian) is the image of Épinal, the postcard setting of Bergen and, sometimes, of Norway. Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, “the old quay of Bergen recalls the importance of the city as part of the commercial empire of the Hanseatic League, from the 14th century to the middle of the 16th century” as the UN institution reminds us. , specifying that, following a fire in 1955, the 62 buildings were rebuilt identically, using traditional Norwegian methods. Making visiting Bryggen feel like a time traveler, without the kitsch typically associated with such an experience.
Bryggen is also the gateway to the very pretty district of fjellsiden, a sort of residential Montmartre overlooking the sea and the mountains. This is where Bergen’s wealthiest Norwegians usually live.
2. Fish and seafood
The famous Torget fish market is daily assailed by tourists. It is indeed picturesque to perfection – offering quality products on the stalls, quite expensive, but which make wonderful souvenirs to bring back to France. It is notably the paradise of smoked salmon; but there are also many restaurants or trays of seafood already prepared.
However, like the restaurants in Montmartre, the Torget fish market is no longer “typical”. The Norwegians no longer go there, discouraged by prohibitive prices and traders more interested in tourists than local customers. Count, for example, 50 € to eat a king crab claw. Or € 30 for a Fish & Chips…
However, you will find below some good addresses of excellent quality restaurants, which will also offer you to taste the local fish and seafood.
3. The fjords and national parks
Seven mountains surround Bergen – and hiking trails are plentiful, and well maintained, easily accessible by funicular or public transport. A few meters from the port, the Fløibanen funicular takes you in less than ten minutes to the viewpoint of Mount Fløyen for an incomparable view of the old town and the fjords. Another four hour hike, from Fløyen to Ulriken via the Vidden Plateau, will give you an even more spectacular panorama of Bergen, the fjords, the mountain, and the Atlantic Ocean.
From Bergen, there are many half-day and full-day tours to visit one of the many fjords, or one of the national parks that surround the city. The most famous tour is undoubtedly “Norway in a nutshell” – which combines, in twelve hours, a train journey (Flåm) through the mountains, and a cruise on the Naerøyfjord, perhaps the most beautiful fjord. from the country. Tour price: NOK 1740.
4. Many activities to do for a weekend in Bergen
The three preceding paragraphs are only a very brief overview ; there really are 1001 things to see and do in Bergen, even for a tiny weekend, even for a whole year. Let us quote, pell-mell:
– A glacier hike in Folgefonna National Park
– Paragliding over the fjords in Voss, or go rafting or canoeing
– Take the boat from Bergen to Ulvik, to the Hardangerfjord, the second largest fjord in the country, where Trolltunga is located
– The view of the Lysefjord from Preikestolen or Kjeragbolten
– Take the train between Oslo and Bergen, one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world (in competition with the Raumabanen, “the most beautiful railway line in Europe” according to Lonely Planet)
When to go?
Personally, I always try to go in low season whatever the destination. For Bergen, the low season is all winter ; the high season would correspond to spring and summer.
– In may, the orchards of the Hardangerfjord are in bloom.
– In June the Bergen International Music Festival and the Voss Extreme Sports Festival take place.
– The month July and August are the best time to hike in Norway.
How do you find a cheap flight to Bergen?
As I said in the introduction, you can use the Omio site to save time and find the cheapest flight to Bergen. I found a non-stop round trip at € 115 with Air France, for a trip from April 3 to April 11, 2020.
Car hire in Bergen
– The cheapest price I found for a car rental in Bergen was 185 € for 7 rental days (unlimited km) with Carigami (via Auto Escape).
– Cost of gasoline in Norway: around € 1.70 per liter, or NOK 17 (which is rather expensive for an oil-producing country). You can take a look at the site Global Petrol Prices to find out the average price of a liter of gasoline in all countries of the world.
Where to eat in Bergen? What are the best restaurants in Bergen?
Tip to know: Norwegian restaurants sometimes offer “3 to 5” menus, available from 3 pm to 5 pm, often much cheaper than at lunch or dinner. Otherwise, here is the list of the best restaurants in Bergen, ranked from cheapest to most expensive.
In a city that gives pride of place to seafood, a legendary sausage stand has appeared. Its reputation comes in particular from the remarkable diversity of sausages available for making your hot dogs: reindeer meat, fish, German sausage, house lamb… We recommend the latter.
Hot dog with reindeer sausage: 65 KR
– Strandkaien fisk
This small fishmonger also serves as a specialized grocery store where you will find, at reasonable prices, all the most unlikely Norwegian and Scandinavian specialties, including the famous surströmming to offer to your worst enemies. Strandkaien is also a small restaurant, offering to eat in or take away: I strongly advise you to try their famous fish cakes wrapped in bread. Otherwise, the Fish & Chips costs 98 KR.
If you want to taste a typical Norwegian stew (lapskaus), this is the place to come. It will cost you 159 KR, and you can enjoy it throughout the day, until closing.
– Colonialen Kafé & Brasserie
This brasserie is a Bergen institution, offering internationally inspired dishes, made with local ingredients, and always with a very Norwegian touch (in the use of a certain herb in a French dish, for example).
Dishes at 235 KR
Starter / main course / dessert menu: 495 KR
A restaurant specializing in tapas (165 KR per tapas) to share, designed to offer the undecided the opportunity to taste Norwegian gastronomy in all its diversity, and in all its complexity, on the scale of a tapas.
The dinner menu (4 courses) costs NOK 515.
Cited in the Michelin guide (without having a star), Lysverket first offers an astonishing setting, housed in an art museum from the 1930s overlooking a park. On the taste buds side, the New York Times celebrates the chef as “the inventor of Neo-Fjord cuisine”. Not sure that means anything, but the ingredients are always in season, ultra-local, offering for example a very appetizing seared roast cod with a spinach purée and a cumin and orange sauce. blood. Price wise, count between 349 NOK (main course) and 1199 for the tasting menu (11 courses).
Bare is the only starred restaurant in Bergen (one Michelin star 2020). Here is what the little red guide says:
“Dinner begins with some snacks and drinks in the surprisingly mirrored bar on the 3rd floor of the Bergen Børs Hotel, where you can choose between the full menu or the ‘half’ menu. The highly qualified brigade makes excellent use of top quality organic products; the plates are never overloaded, and let the main ingredient express itself, whether it is langoustine or venison. “
Full menu at NOK 1450 – which is surprisingly reasonable for a Michelin star meal in Norway.
Where to drink coffee in Bergen?
Bergen does not really shine for the quality of its coffee shops. However, two coffees serve a quality little black:
– The Dromedar kaffebar in Strandsiden (Strandgaten 81)
– The Nobel Bopel in the district of Møhlenpris (Welhavens gate 64)
Where to sleep in Bergen?
Accommodation in Norway is expensive. Count between 50 and 100 € per night at a hotel in Bergen, and between 100 and 150 € for a room with a sea view. Youth hostel side: 32 € in a dormitory, 34 € for a small room on the campsite.
Nevertheless, I have found you some cheap hotels in Bergen. The prices are indicated for the low season, for one person. The prices you find are likely to be higher: I am giving you the cheapest prices possible.
Bergen Budget Hostel
From € 14 in a dormitory.
From € 16 in a dormitory.
From 36 € for a room.
A hostel that offers a shared kitchen and lounge – handy if you want to buy fish and cook it yourself. Especially since the hotel is located close to the fish market.
Basic Hotel Bergen
From 51 €.
A 5 minute walk from the Hurtigruten terminal and a 10 minute walk to Bryggen. Good tip: all rooms have a fridge, handy if you buy fish. Many restaurants, bars and shops nearby. Bergen station 800 meters away.
Magic Hotel Xhibition
From 55 €.
Right in the center of Bergen, within the Xhibition shopping center. The train station is 700 meters away. Unlimited coffee at the lobby bar. The hotel rooms were designed by Karim Rashid. Located 800 meters from the Hurtigruten ferry terminal.
Magic Hotel Korskirken
From 70 €.
Located 400 meters from Bryggen quay, 900 m from university, 1 km from Hurtigruten terminal. Designer rooms, restaurant and bar on site.